Poker Alice: Gambler, Dealer, Wife, and Mother
by Gini Rifkin
A few years into the marriage, Alice's husband was killed in an explosion and she was left with no means of support. There wasn't a school for her to teach in and other female occupations didn't appeal to her. Capitalizing on her gambling skills, she became a Faro dealer. A petite 5'4" beauty with blue eyes and silky brown hair, and dressed in the latest fashions, she was soon in great demand.
As she traveled from camp to camp, playing in cities all over Colorado including Alamosa, Central City, Georgetown and Trinidad. As a dealer and a player, she acquired the nickname "Poker Alice", and could often be seen in her frilly dresses while puffing on a large black cigar. She never gambled on Sundays, and carried a .38 revolver which she had no reservations about using. She was welcome everywhere as her presence always drew a crowd and was good for business.
Later, in Creede, Colorado, she met and went to work for Bob Ford (the man who killed Jesse James. In 1890 she ended up in Deadwood, South Dakota, and met Warren G. Tubbs, a house painter from Sturgis.
She saved Tubbs with her .38 when a miner pulled a knife on him. The couple married, moved to Deadwood to homestead on the Moreau river and raised 7 children. But luckier at cards than love, Warren contracted tuberculosis and despite her dedication to making him well, he passed away in 1910.
At the age of 79 she underwent a gall bladder operation in Rapid City, but died of complications on February 27, 1930.
In her later years, Alice claimed to have won more than $250,000 at the gaming tables and never once cheated. In fact, one of her favorite sayings was: "Praise the Lord and place your bets. I'll take your money with no regrets."
About GiniGini lives and plays in Colorado where the moon rises over the prairie and the sun sets over the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s caring for her Noah’s Ark of rescued animals. At present, they are a chaotic but happy family of ducks, geese, goats, donkeys and cats. If you see her in a crowd she’s probably be the one wearing a hat. “It’s not quite a fetish but I’m working on it.” http://ginirifkin.com/ http://ginirifkin.blogspot.com
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